Praying is saying back to God what he wants us to say back to God.

Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield, Sunday 26th July 2020

Holy Trinity Church Huddersfield war memorial window, bottom panel.

Another YouTube service this week from Holy Trinity, with better sound. We had got a sound bar for the TV during the week so the sound now actually has some bass to it at last. A difference from the church end too. The sermon was preached in front of a plain white wall, which I find a lot better for concentration as I’m always distracted into reading the titles in the bookcase if the preacher or service leader is sat or stood in front of one.

The service was led by Youth leader Wayne and Howard, a retired priest who was previously been at Bowling in Bradford, preached. This was the last in our sermon series on P. R. A. Y. for Pause, Rejoice, Ask and Yeild on prayer, based on the book How to Pray by Pete Greig: This week we were asked, “What does it mean, and how do we ‘Yield’ to God?” Readings were from Psalm 40:4-8 and Matthew 6:9-13, the Lord’s Prayer. Independent of the sermon these words in the psalm stood out for me:

Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
    it is written about me in the scroll.
I desire to do your will, my God;
    your law is within my heart.”

Psalm 40:7-8 NIV UK

Howard started his sermon by saying that he had misread the subtitle of the book as “A normal guide for simple people,” and thinking, “That will suit me.” But it is “A simple guide to normal people.” The word yield means surrender and the sermon was to be about surrendering ourselves to God, based on the four sections of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew’s Gospel:

  1. Contemplative prayer: Your Kingdom come.
  2. Give us today our daily bread.
  3. Forgiving others.
  4. Power in spiritual warfare, Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

We may think that God is with is in the hour we rake each day in prayer, or the half hour, or ten minutes, but God is with us all the time, in the office, in school, in the supermarket isle. As talking comes to the background feelings come to the foreground.

Peter was given a vision of a blanket let down from heaven and went to the house of Cornelius, while he was there the Spirit came down. John on Patmos was given a vision, a vision changed his outlook.

What is the most important in worship songs and hymns, the words or the music? I’ll be controversial, said Howard, in saying that it is the music. We remember the music first and then we remember the words.

Howard went on to mention Mary doing the good thing sitting at the feet of Jesus whilst her sister Martha was running round preparing the food. I’ll have to say here that in my view Martha is badly done to by preachers. First the Mary and Martha passage come straight after the parable of the Good Samaritan, which commends good works and in John 11:27: ‘Yes, Lord,’ she [Martha] replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’ I have heard a lot of sermons on the story of busy Martha with Mary at Jesus feet, and cannot recall any on Martha acknowledging Jesus as Messiah. Mary may have chosen the better part at that time, but we do a great disservice to Martha if we say that Mary is somehow better than her sister. We need Marthas as well as Marys.

Back to Howard’s sermon. “Man shall not live by bread alone,” said Jesus in the wilderness. Both the spiritual and practical are needed.

Praying is saying back to God what he wants us to say back to God. Important that we listen to God and heat what he is saying. Yielding is agreeing to listen to God. We can do this in many ways:

  • Hear God in the Bible.
  • Hearing god in dreams and visions.
  • Hearing God in others.
  • Hearing God in actions and in circumstances.
  • Hearing God in the normal, common sense.

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Give us each day our daily bread,” the idea goes back to the Exodus when manna fell in the desert and only lasted a day.

Howard likes singing the song Breath – “I’m desperate for you and lost without you.” I like that song too because to me it is a reality, someone like me who tries living with God only there vaguely in the background, and knowing things could be better. I feel lost because I am not close enough to God. I sing it as a lament.

There is a need, Howard said, for confession and reconciliation. As we forgive those who sin against us we are changed. Hurt people hurt people said a wayside pulpit at Howard’s old church above Bradford. We should not involve ourselves in revenge and resentment but ask for forgiveness and give it up and then God comes.

God’s power in spiritual warfare.

Know your enemy: Forces of evil in the heavenly realm. Satan takes advantage of our unforgiveness. Know your unforgiveness. The book of Revelation should be given to new Christians to read. We often think of it as a difficult book, but it has a central message “God wins”

Jesus has all power and authority and is interceding for us at God’s right hand. Resist the devil and he will flee from you it says in the letter of James

We yield ourselves so that we can be in Gods army. we need to know how to fight. We will make a difference in this world for him.

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